On the 3rd of September 2015 the House of Representatives passed the Immovable Property (Transfer and Mortgage Law 9/1965, as amended (139(I)/2015). Simultaneously the Immovable Property (Transfer and Mortgage) (Protection of Buyers) Regulations (Regulatory Administrative Act KPD 298/2015) of 2015 were adopted.
This new law assists purchasers, who have fulfilled their obligations under the contract of sale, when the vendor is unable, neglects or fails to transfer the property in the name of the purchased due to a mortgage/encumbrance/prohibition on the property or a part thereof. As such the following have the right to file an application:
- The purchaser, on the basis of the contract which has been filed with the District Land Office;
- The vendor, on the basis of the contract which has been filed with the District Land Office;
- The mortgagee, on the basis of the contract which has been filed with the District Land Office;
- The lender, on the basis of the loan agreement with the purchaser;
- The assignee, on the basis of the assignment agreement which has been filed with the District Land Office;
- The director of the Lands and Surveys Department, ex officio.
In the event that the contract/assignment agreement has not been deposited by 31.12.2014, the applicant may apply with the court for the issuance of an order to deposit such in accordance with the Sale of Property (Specific Performance) Law no. 81(I)/2011.
The procedure, in a nutshell, is as follows:
- The application is submitted with the relevant District Land Office;
- The application is examined to ascertain that the 3 basic conditions have been fulfilled: payment of purchase price, existence of separate title deed, payment of taxes (evidence is required);
- A notice of transfer of the title deed is send to all interested persons, giving them 45 days to submit an objection/application to transfer the encumbrances (if applicable);
- In the event of an objection or application for transfer of the encumbrance, a decision is taken on such after the lapse of the 45 days;
- A notice of transfer of title is send to the purchaser and the vendor, requesting them to proceed with the transfer within 60 days. The purchaser is informed of the purchaser’s right to proceed with the payment of the transfer fees within this timeline without the vendor’s consent.
Explanation of the 3 basic conditions:
- In the event that the purchase price is not fully paid, the purchaser will be requested to deposit the remainder of such within 15 days in the special temporary bank account in the name of the Director of the Department Lands and Surveys.
- Moreover, in the event that no separate title deed exists, the applicant can apply with the Department of Lands and Surveys for the
compulsory acquisition of a title according to the provisions of Part VI of the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224.
- Lastly, please be aware that the following taxes should be settled by the purchaser (if so contractually agreed with the vendor): immovable property tax (a confirmation should be received from the registrar of taxes), municipality immovable property fee and sewerage charges.
After the above stages have been completed the purchaser has the right to proceed with the payment of the transfer fees (point 5 above). If the purchaser proceeds with the payment of the transfer fees in their entirety, the purchaser will receive a discount of 10%. The purchaser also has the right to settle the transfer fees in 12 equal instalments. In the event that the title deed is transferred and the purchaser has not settled the transfer fees, an incumbrance shall be placed on the immovable property for the amount of the transfer fees plus 50%.